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Confused with human hands 2

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1. Confused with human hands
2. Tiny off springs
3. On the endangered species’ list
4. Depositing a distinctive odor
5. Extinct African bears
6. Special conditions
7. The common predecessor
8. The largest and the smallest ones


A. For over 30 million years, bears in one form or another have roamed the Earth. There are only 8 extant species of bear on Earth now. Bears live all over the world, and the different species inhabit various geographic regions. The different adaptations each species of bear has for its environment is one of the facts that helps us learn about evolution. We can see from these different adaptations how bears evolved from a common ancestor to have the traits they have today.

B. While bears did live in the Atlas Mountains of Africa for a period of time, there are no species of bear living in Africa at this time. Scientists today believe the Atlas bear to be extinct. The Roman Empire used many animals from Northern Africa to fight in spectacular competitions. From records, it seems thousands of bears were taken and made to fight with other animals like lions and tigers. The environment also had an impact on the extinction of the Atlas bear. As the desert in Northern Africa expanded, it reduced the woodland habitat where the Atlas bear lived.

C. Bears adapted in various ways for different environments. While most bears live in forests, the polar bear lives in the icy conditions of the Artic. In all species of bear, the male is larger than the female on average. There is a wider range of size between the different bear species. Kodiak bears and polar bears are the largest bears. The sun bear is the smallest bear. The largest male Kodiak bears can weigh up to 1500 lbs., and the smallest female sun bears can weigh as little 50 lbs.

D. The structure of the human hand and the bear claw are very similar. The bone structure is so alike, that the National Wildlife Laboratory published a special guide to help people tell the difference. People sometimes put bear paws out in public to shock other people. Also, bear remains which were found during excavation or construction, shocking workers and halted work on the job site. The National Wildlife guide helps people quickly identify the remains by highlighting the subtle differences between bear paws and human hands.

E. Polar bears may look nice and clean because of their white fur. Polar bears use their feet to leave scent markings. Polar bears have a very large territory, and scientists believe that sweat glands on their paws is a convenient way to mark their territory. This means polar bears are marking their territory simply by walking around. Most bears mark their territory by rubbing their backs against trees. However, polar bears have relatively few trees in their natural habitat in the Arctic.

F. The spectacled bear is the only bear that lives in South America and the species is classified as vulnerable to extinction on the Endangered Species List. The spectacled bear makes its home in the Andean jungles. This habitat is currently being devastated by human development. Spectacled bears are also killed by farmers who see them as pests, and are poached for their meat and claws. With fewer than 3,000 alive in the world today, we need to act soon before spectacled bears suffer the same fate as Atlas bears.

G. Scientists have been breeding panda bears in captivity since at least the 1960s to help stabilize the fragile panda bear population. Many advances have been made, and many new bear facts have been revealed. Breeding panda bears in captivity is a difficult task. The panda bear fetus is so small, that it’s often not seen by ultrasound. Baby panda bears are tiny fragile creatures. They are blind, hairless and only 1/900th the size of the mother. Pandas International compares the size of a baby panda bear to a stick of butter.

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